Photos + Words By: Jessica Blaine Smith
There’s a new cocktail bar in town.
This Queen West gem is stepping up the game for cocktails in Toronto.
Rush Lane & Co is owned and operated by local bartenders which means there is NO messing around here. The space is beautifully designed and comfortable. It makes it pretty enticing to never leave.
Owner and bartender, Simon Hooper introduced me to their in-house cocktail laboratory which is used for extracting & concentrating flavour and altering sugar levels. It’s pretty scientific, Simon explains that by creating their cocktail ingredients in this manner they are able to control the quality. Which in simple terms means: no matter who you order your drink from, it will always taste exactly the same.
Their game is that tight.
One of the best drinks I tried that night was the Not Your Average Joe which is the Rush Lane take on a gin & tonic. Instead of lime which can alter the flavour of a cocktail depending on the fruit, they use malic acid to stick with their consistency. They also add cucumber and black pepper juice to it which I really loved. The Beat It was also one of my favourites that was a gorgeous colour and went down a little too quickly.
Rush Lane also has a killer food menu featuring popular bar food – taken up a notch. The standouts were the Pretzel with candied mustard seed and smoked butter. Seriously, smoked butter. It’s incredible.
While I personally do not eat meat, my friend Laura had the Corndog which came on a bed of corn pudding and fluffy dehydrated coriander. She said it was to die for.
Rush Lane is named so because directly behind it is Rush Lane or what most know it as: Graffiti Alley, the famous Toronto alley that is covered in street art. Their Tag Ice Cream is a play on this. It’s a simple milk sorbet that comes with three spray bottles of flavour: cotton candy (blue), pomegranate (red) and aloe (green). The idea is that you spray paint your sorbet with the flavours making your own art. I loved this.
My fiance and I went back to check it out on another evening. The drinks were just as good as the first time around, as was that pretzel. I love what the Rush Lane boys are doing and cannot wait to see what they come up with next for their creative cocktail and food menus. The cocktails run around $14, and with the craftsmanship and attention to detail put into each drink, it’s worth every drop. — Jessica Blaine Smith
Jessica Blaine Smith is a Toronto-based photographer. You can see more of her work at: Jessica Blaine Smith Photography.